How to choose a civil partnership ring

You may want to buy an engagement ring or wedding ring as a surprise for your loved one. You can find out their finger size using
a handy online chart. It illustrates UK ring sizes in diagrammatical form, bizarrely, they go from the letters I ½ to X ½.

To find the approximate ring size, take a ring they already own and place it over the circles until you find one which is closest in circumference to yours. The circumferences represent the size of the internal diameter of the ring. If you are off for a shopping trip to Paris or New York, you will need an international converter. Luckily there is another handy chart.

If you don't feel confident about this method and can sneakily steal one of your partner's rings, you can take it to a jewellers and ask them to measure it. Or if this is too stressful or dangerous - you can try one of your partner's rings on and see where it comes to on your finger and mark this with pen.

Of course, you may be upfront about it all and go on a shopping trip together to buy each other rings - that can make life a lot simpler and be a very romantic build up to your big day.

In London, the main street for jewellery is Hatton Garden, a street in Clerkenwell. There are nearly 300 jewellery businesses in the area with the UK's highest density of diamond shops.

There are also plenty of online jewellers and pretty much a store in every high street as well as the big department stores. You would hope that no one would show any homophobia towards customers but if you want to be sure of a welcome, some jewellers who are promoting themselves as gay-friendly, appear on the jewellery page of our website.

Diamonds are a girl's or a boy's best friend

There are four features that determine the worth of a diamond, the carat, clarity, cut and colour.

The carat weight of the stone is perhaps the most important or valued as diamonds over one carat in size are becoming a rarity.

The term 'Carat' was derived from the Carob seed. These seeds were used in scale balances of ancient markets due to their remarkable consistency in both weight and size.

It is important that the Carat is not confused with Karat, the term used to describe the purity of gold. A Carat is a measure of weight and a Karat is a percentage.

A flawless diamond is one free from inclusions and blemishes even under a 10x magnification. These gemstones are extremely rare and equally expensive. The market value of a diamond is decreased by the number of imperfections and their visibility to the naked eye.

The cut is used to describe the shape or outline of a diamond's front. The shape, Round Brilliant accounts for 75 per cent of all diamond gemstones today. It is the most common shape for engagement rings. The shape represents the highest advances in diamond cutting, offering brilliance and stability with 58 facets.

Entirely colourless diamonds are supremely rare and precious. A diamond acts as a prism that separates light into a spectrum of colours and reflecting it as vivacious flashes, called fire. With colourless diamonds, all the colours of the rainbow are reflected back to your eye.

One other 'C' to ask about is conflict. The campaign group Amnesty says: 'Conflict diamonds are those sold in order to fund armed conflict and civil war. Warlords and rebel groups in countries including Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia and Sierra Leone have used billions of dollars of profits from the sale of diamonds from the mines they control to buy arms and fund devastating wars.'

The charity has produced a guide explaining how consumers can make a difference. It recommends that shoppers ask retailers the following questions about conflict diamonds.

Do you know where the diamonds you sell come from?
Can I see a copy of your company's policy on conflict diamonds?
Can you show me a written guarantee from your diamond suppliers that shows that your diamonds are conflict free?
How can I be sure that none of your jewellery contains conflict diamonds?

You may want to choose a ring with a gem related to each other's star sign. There is a handy table here

Or opt for Gold, Silver or Platinum. The purest form of gold is considered as 24 Karats and denotes a purity of roughly 99.9 per cent.